Any of a number of American authors associated with pre-World War I reform and exposing writing is referred to as a Muckraker. The muckrakers gave extensive, factual journalistic portrayals of political and economic wrongdoing, as well as social suffering, caused by large corporate power in a rapidly industrializing United States. They included: Lincoln Steffens of The New York Times; Ida Tarbell of The Pittsburgh Press; and George Seldes of The Chicago Tribune.
The muckraking articles were widely read by the public who sought information on such topics as corruption in government, business practices that led to unemployment, working conditions in factories, anti-competitive behavior by large corporations, slavery, ethnic prejudice, and women's rights. Many laws were influenced by these writings, including laws regulating labor conditions in factories, honesty in elections, and investment requirements for banks.
Steffens, Tarbell, and Seldes each wrote books about their experiences as muckrakers, and all three are considered important influences on the development of investigative journalism. Although they worked for different newspapers, all three men had a profound influence on how Americans think about politics and business. They are also credited with helping to create a sense of public responsibility among citizens which has been called "the muckraking spirit".
Muckraking was a new idea when it began in the early 20th century.
During the Progressive period, the Muckrakers were a group of writers, including Upton Sinclair, Lincoln Steffens, and Ida Tarbell, who attempted to expose the issues that existed in American society as a result of the development of big business, urbanization, and immigration. The vast majority of the muckrakers were journalists. However, several politicians have been involved with the movement as well.
Muckraking is the English term for "the act of peering into dirty things" and it became popular among journalists during the Progressive era as they exposed corruption within government agencies and corporations. The first known use of the term is in 1872 by George R. Sims when he wrote an article for the New York Tribune titled "The Muckrakers - A Movement Whose Time Has Come." The article described the efforts of other journalists who were also writing about issues such as corruption within government agencies and corporate power. These individuals were called "muckrakers" because they used actual muck for research (instead of wood pulp) and told interesting stories that drew attention from readers.
In conclusion, the Muckrakers were people who wrote articles about issues that were considered important by journalists of the time. Although most were not political figures, several politicians have written about subjects related to muckraking including Lincoln Steffens, who investigated corrupt politics; and Upton Sinclair, who explored health concerns related to industrial food products.
Their efforts led to new laws being passed to protect consumers and employees from harmful practices by businesses.
Each writer had his or her own way of exposing the problems in society that they believed needed to be addressed. For example, while Steffens wrote about all kinds of topics including politics, crime, and sports, he always ended his articles with a moral statement regarding what he believed was important for people to know. With Lincoln Steffens's help, the New York Times developed a national reputation for publishing important stories about government and corporate abuse. After leaving the Times, Steffens went back to writing about different subjects but never lost sight of his goal to inform the public about reality as he saw it.
Upton Sinclair used his fame as the author of The Jungle, which told the story of meatpacking in Chicago, to advocate for laws that would regulate industry. Before The Jungle was published, most people did not want to eat meat because they thought it was cruel to animals. However, once this issue was brought to light through Sinclair's book, Congress passed laws requiring food handlers to wear gloves when handling meat and establishing standards for livestock farms.
From the 1890s through the 1920s, the muckrakers were a group of journalists that turned American society upside down by exposing corruption and enlightening readers about major social concerns. This word is frequently used to refer to journalists who follow in their footsteps by releasing exposes and battling corruption.
The term was first used to describe members of the staff of the Chicago Daily News who in the early 1890s exposed political corruption in Illinois. They used their articles to criticize government officials for their misuse of power and to advocate for civil rights and liberties. Other newspapers quickly followed the example set by the News and more than a dozen other muckraking newspapers were launched across the country.
The muckrakers' efforts helped make journalism a more professional discipline and they are now generally regarded as instrumental in creating a public consciousness regarding important issues such as politics, business, labor practices, and society at large.
Muckraking is also used as a term of disparagement today when people accuse others of engaging in unethical behavior for financial gain. For example, politicians often face accusations of being "muckrakers" for investigating crimes committed by colleagues.
Finally, muckraking has come to mean any kind of investigative reporting that exposes wrongdoing.
Muckrakers In the first decade of the twentieth century, a collection of authors, journalists, and critics revealed corporate misconduct and government corruption. Riis, Jacobson, and Schwab were only three of many who contributed to this movement called muckraking. Their articles exposed unsanitary meat packing plants, child labor practices, police brutality, and other controversial topics then hidden from public view. The writers used new technology to gather material for their articles, which included photographs and cartoons.
Muckraking was not well received by everyone in society. Some people accused the writers of being scandal-hungry voyeurs while others praised them for their efforts to expose wrong doing. However, most accepted that something needed to be done to make government and business more accountable. Although muckraking ceased to be a popular form of journalism after its early successes, it has been cited as an influence on other writers including Edward R. Murrow and Hunter S. Thompson.
Muckraking is the parent term for several different types of journalism. It can also refer to individuals who use these methods to uncover information about politics or business. This type of reporting was very common before the 1920s so it is also known as old school muckraking. Newer forms of muckraking include online activism and social media campaigns.
During the Progressive Era (1890–1920), muckrakers were investigative reporters and writers who wrote about corruption and injustice in attempt to effect social change. They were active in many cities across the United States, but their efforts were focused in Washington, D.C.
Muckraking journalists exposed unsavory aspects of society through articles published in newspapers. These articles often included photos and cartoons designed to make readers laugh and cry at the same time. Some examples of topics covered by muckrakers include: child labor, sweatshops, police brutality, venereal disease, urban poverty, and world wars.
The term was first used to describe newspaper reporters who investigated public officials' misconduct and exposed it to the light of day. The reporters sought truth and justice for all people. They made the powerful accountable to the common man.
During this time, investigative journalism was becoming more important for advancing social change. It was one of several factors that led to the rise of the progressive movement. The progressives wanted to improve American society by changing government policy; they believed that only strong leadership could fix the problems facing our nation.